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World News

Brazilian Bishops condemn increase in land grab violence

by Donna Birrell

Bishops in Brazil say rural violence linked to land disputes in the country is increasing.

In a strongly-worded statement, the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference’s Land Pastoral Commission  – which supports the rights of the original peoples of Brazil - expressed indignation and solidarity with the country’s indigenous communities :

"The pains of every indigenous person also belongs to the Church, which, according to its doctrine, the magisterium of Pope Francis, teaches the importance of indigenous peoples in the preservation of the planet."

In their latest annual report, the Bishops say 47 people were killed in 2022 as a result of conflict over land, with 18 being indigenous persons.

The report says there have been 1,572 cases, over 16 percent more than in 2021, affecting more than 181,000 families. Over half the incidents happened in the Amazon, where 34 killings also took place.

Last year the report says one family in six faced armed thugs hired by large landowners or other people claiming ownership of land. The number of attempted killings was 123, and 206 death threats were reported. The study says the government’s involvement in land conflicts has risen from 10 to 16 per cent.

It also found that in 2022, 193 people were directly attacked with pesticides to drive them away from their land – that’s over 170 percent more than the previous year.

In June 2022 human rights advocate Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips were murdered for drawing attention to the historic assault on Brazilian Indigenous communities and the rainforest, that has unfolded under the tenure of former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.


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